Annoying Bank Fees and How to Avoid Them

Keeping our money in a bank is something most of us do but we never really stop to look at the fees and charges the banks impose on our accounts. This plethora of extra costs can negatively impact your financial health, especially if you are not monitoring them. To top it off, understanding the fee format of your bank is not always easy, making it quite difficult for you to verify if the fees are accurate or not. The bottom line is - here are some ways to avoid annoying bank fees.

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Early Account Closure Fee

Several banks require you to have your account open for a certain amount of time before you can close it. They will charge you an early account closure fee, with an industry average being roughly $25. BB&T and Citibank both charge this fee if you do not keep your account open for at least 90 days. Other banks will require you to keep your account open for as long as 180 days. Make sure to ask questions about an early account closure fee before opening your new account, in order to avoid this fee.

Maintenance Fees

Many banks charge maintenance fees, so make sure you know what the parameters are. Some banks require a minimum balance to avoid these fees, while others charge a flat-out fee, regardless. Typically, the minimum balance required is an average over the entire month, so if you do not get steady paychecks, you may need to ask the bank about this ahead of time.

Returned Deposit Fee

If you deposit a check that bounces, your bank may charge a fee. Some banks charge as much as $20 for a returned check, even if it’s been done in good faith. This can add to your costs if you aren’t careful. Quite frankly, there’s not much you can do about this one but trust that the check is from a reliable source and that it is being deposited on the right date.

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Minimum Balance Fees

Some banks charge a minimum balance fee. One example is Citibank, which requires a minimum balance of $6,000 on their EZ checking accounts. If the account has less than $6,000, you are charged $15 a month! To avoid this type of fee, you should check with the bank to see if there is any minimum balance requirement before you open an account. Some banks will have a minimum requirement as low as $50, which is a lot more reasonable. However, plenty of banks don’t charge this fee at all, so do your research.

Foreign Transaction Fees

You might make a purchase online with a foreign company, paying for the transaction with your credit card, or, if you are traveling overseas, you are probably charging things on your credit card. While this is convenient, it can also cost you a little extra. The reason for this is that there is foreign currency transaction fee, as well as other small fees attached to these purchases. Some banks charge a flat purchase fee, but many of them charge 3% of the total purchase amount. In order to avoid this issue, you are probably best served getting foreign currency before you leave the US, or surprisingly, it is quite often cheaper to withdraw foreign currency from a local ATM. This is especially true in places like Canada.

Lost Debit Card Fee

You could be charged by the bank for losing your debit card. For example, Bank of America charges five dollars to replace the card, and PNC will charge $7.50. There are varying fees, also, as it does, of course, cost banks to reissue these cards. Get into the habit of keeping your card in a secure place and remember to check it is there on a regular basis. By keeping track of your debit card, you are less likely to lose it.

Fees for Paper Statements

A lot of banks charge an extra fee if you want a paper statement. Toronto Dominion, or TD, charges you a dollar for paper account statements. Some other banks charge two dollars. Since most people check their accounts online today, this is becoming less of an issue. If you haven’t set yourself up on internet banking, the time to do so is now. It is a lot more convenient and will help you to avoid any paper statement fees.

Human Teller Fee

Today, some banks charge for using their human tellers. This fee may be charged differently at different banks, but in general, if you don’t do your deposits and withdrawals online or with the ATM, they charge you a monthly maintenance fee. If you wish to have human contact in your banking processes, you should avoid these banks at all costs. If you bank online, then this fee will not be an issue however there may be times you need assistance from a bank teller. Make sure to check all fees before opening an account with the bank and if they do charge a human teller fee, make sure to do your banking online as much as possible.